Tips to Get Your Campaign Through

Date posted: Thu, Apr 15, 04 | Author: Alynn Gillespie | Category: best practices, email marketing, sending email, tips

Spam has become a major issue and anti-spam services have made an attempt at lessening the problem. If the trend continues more and more companies will be employing spam filtering. As a legitimate opt-in marketer, this means that if you are not careful about the content AND construction of your e-mail campaigns, you may be subjecting your campaigns to undue attention and unnecessary spam filtering.

SpamAssassin and similar filters search for patterns and use a points system based on which patterns were descovered. If your e-mail reaches a certain threshold it is flagged as spam.

The suggestions below are based on SpamAssassin's information about tests they perform on e-mail and default values SpamAssassin assigns to various matches. The values can be modified by users and the tests can change frequently as spammers find ways to circumvent them. Taken together these suggestions can help you get more of your legitimate opt-in e-mails.

1. Avoid E-Mail Software or Listservers Used by Spammers

Certain desktop e-mail listserver programs have developed a reputation for sending spam. SpamAssassin looks for "fingerprints" of programs on its "bad list," and adds points to your spam score if it detects mail originating from them. Employing various free web hosting services that are commonly used by spammers can hurt, too. The desktop e-mailing software used most often by spammers such as jpfree, VC_IPA, StormPost, JiXing, MMailer (Gammadyne, 2.73), EVAMAIL, IMktg, screwup1, Outlook 3.14159. GroupMail, hash 2. Group Mail (ver 2.0) are penalized.

2. Use Capitalization Carefully

Capital letters are seen as yelling. The amount of capital letters used will add to your spam score proportionatly. Use
capitalization when appropriate, but only when appropriate.

3. Keep HTML Simple

According to SpamAssassin, The higher percentage of HTML tags in your message, the higher your score. The lesson is to keep your HTML very simple.
Here are a few more elements to avoid, if possible:
An HTML table with a thick border
JavaScript contained in the message
An HTML form in your e-mail message

4. Watch Your Hyperlinks

SpamAssassin scrutinizes the links in your mailing, so be careful.
Links without an http:// prefix are penalized, and don't link to URLs using IP address numbers instead of a domain name.

5. Use Color Carefully

Highly colorful e-mails will raise your spam score. A font color tag that isn't formtted quite right, special font colors or hidden letters (same color as the background color) are going to add more to your score.

6. Use Large Fonts and Characters Sparingly

Fonts larger than +2 or size 3 (normal) boost your score, but if you use H1, H2, H3 you will slip under the radar.

7. Avoid Common Spam Phrases

If we would have included them here, approximatly four percent of this mailing would have not made it through spam filters. To see a list of words terms and phrases that will trigger spam filters visit our Spam Filter Triggers FAQ.

8. Be Careful with Subject Lines

For the same reason as above, see Spam Filter Triggers FAQ.

9. Don't Mention Spam Law Compliance is in compliance with the Can-Spam law, however mentioning that, or the bill number in your e-mail message will add to your penalty points. Spammers like to announce their compliance.

10. Monitor Your "white mail" E-mail Address for Challenge Systems

There are recipients who use systems that block all e-mails except those that take the trouble to respond to an e-mail message. When you sign up for an account, you can specify a white mail address where these challenges will be sent. It is important to monitor that mailbox to catch these.

11. Ask Subscribers to Put Your Address in their "Whitelist" or Address Book

Some e-mail client programs such as AOL, Earthlink, Hotmail and others have changed their interface or offered programs to allow users to sort their mail into specified folders. On your subscription page, advise subscribers to place you in their address book, safe list, whitelist etc. That way your e-mail will come directly into their inbox. Asking may be a little trouble, but it may make the difference between your recipients seeing or not seeing your e-mail.